My dad used to have a pin on one of his baseball caps that stated, “The more people I meet, the more I like my dog.” As I’ve gotten older and (somewhat) wiser, I have found the truth in this humorous statement. I think most dog owners like dogs because dogs don’t act like people
Don’t get me wrong, I like people, mostly. But dogs don’t have the capacity to be rude, ignorant, racist, sexist, partisan, or cut you off in traffic. If my dog acted like a certain leader (his last name rhymes with ‘hump’ which, coincidentally, some dogs like to do to your leg), he’d end up with a bullet in his head quicker than Old Yeller (sorry, hope I didn’t ruin the ending for you there). Here are five ways people should be more like dogs.
Dogs are unapologetically excited to see you. When you get home at the end of the day (or even when you get back from walking to the mailbox), is your dog jumping on you, licking your face, barking with joy (yes, dogs can joyously bark!)? That’s because he’s happy to see you and isn’t afraid to express that happiness. And how happy does your dog’s excitement make you feel? Humans could do a better job of being outwardly happy to see another human, especially if it’s our spouse or other loved one at the end of a work day. We aren’t promised every day on this earth or even every hour so bark joyously whenever you see someone you love after any length of time apart. Sniffing crotches is completely optional.
Dogs love unconditionally. Your dog loves you. End of story. Your dog doesn’t love you because you can provide the most expensive dog food or the fanciest dog collar. Your dog loves you whether you are rich, poor, male, female, white, black, Asian, straight, gay, or was once named “Bruce”. Dogs are blind to all the labels humans put on one another. Dogs intuitively know that what’s on the outside of a human isn’t what matters. So, tell me again how humans are allegedly smarter than dogs?
Dogs are happy with the simple things. Food. Shelter. Maybe a nice long walk. They don’t even want clothing. That stupid sweater you see on a Yorkie in the winter? Yeah, he certainly didn’t ask for that. How many times have you said, “I’ll be happy when I <get that new house, go on that vacation, buy that new car, get promoted, become a rock star>”? I’m guilty of it many times over (especially the wanting to be a rock star). Happiness isn’t a destination that ends when we obtain something. Happiness is a mindset. You choose whether you are happy or not. Find happiness in the simple things: Food. Shelter. A long walk. Dogs without sweaters.
Dogs live in the moment. Have you ever seen a dog checking his phone while watching TV and eating his dinner? Yeah, me neither. You know why? Because their paws wouldn’t work on a touch screen AND because dogs live in the moment. When a dog is on a walk, he is enjoying that walk. When a dog is laying on the couch, he is laying on the couch. When a dog is along for a car ride, he is sticking his head out the window, letting the wind blow his fur around like Beyonce’s weave on stage at a Superbowl halftime show. Meditating and being mindful have become buzz words lately because we all could do better by unplugging and focusing on the moment.
Dogs don’t hold grudges. Sometimes my son kicks one of our dogs (sometimes it's on accident, sometimes not). Sometimes my husband scratches our dog’s ears too hard to the point it makes him yelp (the dog, not my husband). Sometimes I whack our dog on the butt if he doesn’t come inside right when I call his name. In all three of these instances, our dog forgets immediately and comes right back and nudges our hand with his nose. Dogs don’t wait for an apology from us before they’ll once again show affection. How much stress do we cause ourselves by holding a grudge against someone for something small and insignificant? If I could stop expending so much negative energy toward my husband for not washing the dinner dishes in a timely manner and instead focus that energy towards being thankful for his love, I’d be more like a dog and therefore, more awesome. Because dogs are awesome. See how I went full circle there? Like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the face is what that was.
Do you have a dog? If you do, what kind of behavior does s/he exhibit that you think people could learn from? Comment below! Also, don’t forget to hire me for your next voiceover project! Woof!